Qs about growing strawberries
I've been reading up about growing strawberries, and pretty much every resource says that you should pinch off the flowers of June-bearing varieties the first year so that you can get a bigger crop the following year and none the first year. They also say that flowers should be pinched off of everbearing varieties until mid-late June. But what if I don't want to treat the strawberry plants as perennials? The reason why is because I live in Seattle (zone 8), and it gets pretty cold here in the winter. Can strawberries survive through that kind of cold? I know there are ways to keep them 'warm,' but it seems like a lot of trouble when I know I can buy strawberry plants from the nursery fairly inexpensively. (And most places also recommend replanting entirely every 2-3 years anyway, as they start to get less vigorous.) Is it a bad idea though to just keep replanting new ones every year? Will it yield less fruit or fruit that doesn't taste as good? I'd just hate to pinch off the flowers of my Hood strawberry plants, only to have them die off in the winter anyway, which means I would have wasted the opportunity to get any strawberries at all. Can I treat them as annuals by letting the flowers stay, and remove any runners during the season to encourage the plant to divert its energies to growing the existing fruit? Has anyone done this? Would love to hear about your experience... If I must, I can go pinch off the flowers this weekend if that's really the best way to go about it. But if I can keep them, get a decent crop, and just plant new plants next season, I'd rather do that. Recommendations? Edit: Thanks to y'all for all the tips (and the scorn about my little zone 8 winters, LOL)! Think I will not pinch back the flowers this time and see how it goes. It's great to know that strawberries are so hardy, but it would seem that I need to create a separate little bed for them. I'm a noob and didn't know they were perennials when I bought the starts, so I planted them in my raised bed of annuals and am afraid of them taking over everything else, as I'm not confident about how much I can actually control them.